Coughlan relishing relegation dogfight
GRAHAM Coughlan says his Bristol Rovers side are enjoying the fight as they battle against relegation, following their goalless draw at Accrington Stanley.
Rovers are now unbeaten in five league games – with three wins in that time – and are a point above the bottom four.
Their on-loan Brentford keeper Jack Bonham was star man as he pulled off a string of saves to keep out the Reds, denying Luke Armstrong, on his debut, with a superb near post save in the first half.
The Pirates keeper also pushed away a Jordan Clark strike from a tight angle and twice denied Billy Kee in the second half.
It wasn’t all Stanley and it also needed a magnificent save from keeper Jonny Maxted to deny Liam Sercombe the winning goal with the last kick of the game.
“It was a battle in the conditions with the swirling wind and rain,” said Goughlan. “It’s a point and another clean sheet and you have to look at the positives.
“If we had had a little more quality we might have won the game, but we could also have lost it with some naive decision making.
“We showed great pride and great passion, but we did look like a team who hadn’t played for 10 days, we were a bit ring rusty. We are disappointed we haven’t won but it is a good little period for us.”
After challenging for the promotion spots earlier in the season, John Coleman’s side have slipped to 14th with six defeats in their last nine league games but the point could prove crucial.
“We were outstanding in the second half,” said Coleman. “We started the first half brightly, then we got a bit sloppy and they counter attacked on us a couple of times.
“In the second half, against the wind in horrendous conditions, they haven’t laid a glove on us and we have kicked on. “It would not only have been unjust but daylight robbery if the free-kick had gone in in the final minute.
“They came with a game-plan, they came for a draw and a win would have been a bonus for them.
“If we play like that between now and the end of the season we won’t have any problems.
“It was good to keep a clean sheet, it was just a shame we couldn’t put the ball in the net at the other end.”